Tag Archives: healthcare

Let A Platitude Be Your Attitude

5 May

What is the difference between a quotation and a platitude? How can one person hear a cute saying and think it’s profound and another think it’s insipid? Does it have something to do with how it’s communicated?

I was listening to the radio and the same PSA came on for the umpteenth time. It sounds like Amanda Gorman, the current poet laureate, but it’s not be her; someone who is imitating her style. It starts off with “A return to sanity, could it be?” It goes into this poetic reading of the benefits of getting the vaccine and how it will help us get back to normal.

I really hate it.

However, let me do a little metacognition–that means I’m pretentious–thinking about how I think. Why do I hate this PSA? The first thought is my same thought about all PSAs; why do we need this commercial? Do you think people haven’t heard about the vaccine by now? Don’t you think people have already made up their minds about this vaccine? They’ll either get it or they’re waiting for availability or they won’t.

Who will hear this well-drafted poem that hasn’t heard the message already? “Click it or ticket” has been around for decades and yet I still have a friend who will never put a seat belt on. Ever. He’s the only one. The message is out there; you won the argument! Accept 99% compliance. That’s a win.

I think another reason is the repetition. I’ve heard this commercial five times a day; it’s played on this radio station every hour… maybe every half hour… because radio stations are required to play a certain percentage of PSA’s in their ad stream. Also because iHeartMedia charges companies differently for live streams than broadcast frequencies. There’s less advertisers who want to pay that, therefore, more PSA’s to fill the void.

I think the best example of this is music. I like the song “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days; everyone else of my generation hates it. Why? Because it was played on a high repetition when it came out in 2000. I love the lyrics, I love the tempo… but I also haven’t heard it a lot. Even now, I’m reluctant to actually play it, because it’s such an earworm, I can play it in my head easily.

My wife suggests that part of the problem is that it’s an unfamiliar style. Then again, she’s bought critical race theory whole; that doesn’t mean she’s wrong in this case. It’s an African-American doing a “performance poem,” which my lily-white ears aren’t comfortable with. The “other” does make things more difficult to accept. I never listened to rap growing up, so when my drinking buddy wants to crank up the rap from my generation, I can’t share the joy that he has about the genre. So I’m not down with it.

So this PSA fails on message, repetition, and style for me. You could judge it yourself. However, I think you remember something similar. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. This post brought to you by Albigensia Press and the Ad Council. 🙂

It Can Kill You… or Have No Effect

26 Mar

My wife suffers from occasional “phantom smells,” where she smells cigarette smoke when none exists. Of course, going online for advice doesn’t help, where the end results could be dire… or transitory. Flip a coin.

Any medical professional will tell you, “If you’re concerned, go see a doctor.” Self-diagnosis is usually wrong and observation and tests can eliminate a lot of different things. I remember going into the urgent care about five years ago with what I thought was A.Fib (atrial fibrillation) or erratic heartbeat. Turned out to be gas, but I had been convinced it was A.Fib because I had seeing commercials for medications for that condition the last couple weeks!

But let’s get back to a less dire symptom–phantom smells. Again, it won’t kill you, but it’s annoying. I’m a pipe smoker, so I can tell the difference, and so can my wife. It’s not my smoke, it’s something like cigarettes, but not really. When it happened to me, I got a little freaked out, since I have a lot more personal experience. (Turned out to just be the candles I lit near me going out.)

Checking out the Internet for possible reasons for this weird and annoying symptom, Broward Sinus Doctors list several reasons, the top ones being:

  • Non-allergic rhinitis
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Nasal polyps
  • Tumors

So… it could be a stuffy nose… or cancer. (shrug)

Our family takes its health seriously, but at the same time, we try not to go into the hospital unless it’s a serious condition. As I’ve ranted on before, family practices aren’t, emergency departments are scary and take forever (speaking as someone who worked in several), and urgent cares still take their sweet time. I’ve been to my acupuncturist and my chiropractor once a month; the last time I went to a “regular” doctor was July of 2019, and that’s because I broke my clavicle from a bicycle accident.

Nine times out of ten, you’re going to waste a lot of time, spend a lot of money, just to find out it was nothing. We have emergency insurance because… well, frankly, it’s not worth it pay several hundred dollars a month for nothing. We make too much for Medicare, too little to pay for a decent plan, so it’s either pay a lot for not much or pay when we really need it. Thankfully, my employer has this no-pay, use it only if you’re really sick insurance, which is frankly what we wanted.

So how “chronic” does a condition have to be to make the step inside the doctor’s office? How painful does a symptom have to be to take “extraordinary measures?” What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you need a break from healthcare, I guarantee my books have no mention of hospitals or doctors or insurance in them. My main characters are pretty robust. So why not buy one? Or if you’re paying too much for insurance, and a $1.99 is too rich for your budget, download one of my stories for free!

The Vanishing Family Physician

27 Aug

When I fill out medical forms, they always ask, “Who is your physician?” And the answer is “I don’t have one.” Today, the idea of having a personal physician who consults and follows up on your treatment is dated and laughable. Having worked in healthcare, I now understand why.

In fact, I see my chiropractor more than I ever see an MD. Maybe I’m just healthier than most, but the last family physician I saw was two years ago… and that was in some snooty-fruity holistic practice which could have been family practice and could have been something else. And I certainly didn’t see the same person twice – in fact, the guy I initially met retired the next year.

So what you have are not personal physicians, but networks. Maybe if I had a chronic condition, this would be important for me to check in with them on a regular basis, but a physical once a year? Why bother? I can go to urgent care and get that done… and get it done now. Family practices are like an outpatient facility; you need an appointment and you usually have to wait for two weeks for the next opening. Why do I need to wait that long? And then, because the medical profession is so specialized, I’ll need a referral to a specialist. Again, I can get the referral at urgent care.

The reason why this bugged me was because of a radio ad I heard that says, “You can keep your same physician even if you switch networks!” Well, that might have meant something before my family practice became a group. As mentioned before, I rarely see the same physician twice. Oh, I go to the same building, and they have all my same records, but it’s never the same person. Maybe it’s important to keep that same facility, because transferring files from one health system to the next is not an exact science yet. (Trust me, that’s what I did for a living.)

Who are all these people behind me?

The reason for this change is simple: litigation. If you’re a single doctor out in a small town… oh, let’s say Morrison, Illinois… your malpractice insurance is going to cost X. You’re going to get sued. It’s like riding a motorcycle; it’s not if you’re going to have an accident, but when. So if I can get a couple more doctors to share the cost with me, that’s X divided by the doctors in my practice. And hey, that means we can rotate the appointments, rotate who’s on call on the weekends, and I can have a regular life!

However, having a joint practice is still a pain in the butt, since you have to keep track of rent, utilities, paperwork from the state… who needs this? Meanwhile, Pleasant Sounding Health Network wants to buy my practice and have me work for them. They’ll take care of the business end… all I have to do is do what I love… which is practice medicine. Why wouldn’t I want that?!

So the personal physician has disappeared… at least for me. Am I off-base? Did I forget an important clue in my rant? Tell me in the comments below!

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